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1905 Dragoons 1850

As Frederic Remington ventured out west he was ever more fascinated with the progressions being made on the Western Frontier and the way in which the people, particularly the Indians, were reacting to these changes. The Dragoons, a predecessor of the Calvary, were one of the earliest fighting forces deployed west of the Mississippi to patrol these territories.
Many stories circulated about the exploits of these brave men who often engaged the Indians in skirmishes to defend the early settlers. One of the most common tricks deployed by the Indians would be to steal the horses of the camped soldiers to get them on foot. These stories were no doubt the source of Remington’s inspiration in the depiction of this sculpture, as he often rode on long expeditions with the Calvary and would have come by them.
One interesting detail to note is that the lead Indian in the earlier castings was depicted as having lance and later he replaced it with a buffalo hide, which is being used to deflect the dragoons saber. Perhaps as time went on, Remington realized that it would appear that the skirmish was more accidental on the part of the Indians stealing the horse, if they were not so well armed. The Soldiers however, are aptly armed, giving chase, well intending to recover the lost mount. Remington paid close attention to the historical accuracy of the hardware such as the officer’s saddle, canteens and as always the uniforms.
Only six castings were produced of this piece, the first four with no numbers and the last two with the numbers five and six. Later productions made by Roman Bronze works showed a marked decline in the detail, texture and patina; indicating these productions were not over seen by Remington

By: Shannon  J. Hatfield






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